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Port work on track

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 10: Construction on the Rs 2,400 crore all-weather port at Dhamra in Bhadrak district has begun and the first phase of the project is expected to be commissioned by April, 2010.

S.K. Mohapatra, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Dhamra Port Company Limited, said dredging, land fill- ing and other civil construction work had already commenced.

The joint venture company, floated by Tata Group and Larsen & Toubro, has already invested around Rs 250 crore in the project, said the CEO.

Contracts and orders worth Rs 700 crore have already been finalised, while orders for machinery and equipment worth Rs 150 crore have been placed with various suppliers, he said.

“We are on schedule and hope that the first phase of the port would be commissioned by April, 2010,” said Mohapatra.

The CEO said 90 per cent of the land acquisition work had been completed. Land required for 54km out of the 62km railway track had already been handed over.

The rest of the land would be acquired after the harvest of the standing crop within two months.

The first phase of the port project comprises a 700m deep berth (18m draught to handle two super cape size vehicles), a 18km channel of depth ranging from 17.5 to 18.5m and a 62km rail link between Bhadrak and Dhamra.

When fully developed, the port would have 13 berths to handle all types of cargoes. But in the first phase, it will only handle dry bulk cargo, namely iron ore, coking coal and limestone.

Way back in 1998, the proposal for developing Dhamra port into a major one had been mooted and a concession agreement was signed with International Sea Ports Private Limited — a joint venture of Larsen & Toubro, Seattle-based SSA International and Bangkok-based Precious Shipping Public Company Limited.

Though the construction work formally begun in 2000, it could not proceed as the two foreign partners backed out.

The project was revived after DPCL was reconstituted as a joint venture of Larsen & Toubro and Tata Steel.

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